Altered photos erase Augusta State from GRU publication

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 5:09 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 9:45 PM
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Call it the case of the disappearing logos.

Georgia Regents University officials distanced themselves Wednesday from what they said was an “error in judgment” for altered photos in a new publication that touts Augusta State University’s athletic traditions while erasing the former school’s name and insignias from team uniforms. 

The cover of the 12-page, color, glossy “view book” says, “Be a part of the legacy at Georgia Regents University,” and inside is a two-page spread on “Jaguar Athletics” with photos of Augusta State sports teams.

Their uniforms, however, no longer display Augusta State logos or emblems.

One photo shows a group of seven smiling young men clad in golf attire, proudly holding an NCAA national championship trophy between them.

Carter Newman stands in the back, second from the left, but unless you know him and who he played for, it would be difficult to tell from the photo.

His Augusta State University emblems have disappeared. His white cap is blank where a bold, blue “A” should be.

Newman, who grew up in Augusta and helped the Jaguars win consecutive NCAA Division I national championships in 2010 and 2011, said he was proud to wear “Augusta” on his clothing. He said he is infuriated by the photo.

“It makes me mad that they want to use us to show that we won back-to-back national championships but not who we played for,” said Newman, nicknamed “Captain Clutch” for his clutch play at the 2011 national championships. “They’re taking advantage of us. That’s something we worked for. We represented Augusta.”

A block of text adjacent to the photo refers to the men’s golf team as “one of best collegiate golf teams ever” and says the men were “National Champions in 2010 & 2011,” without mentioning the team represented Augusta State.

Photos of the men’s basketball team and a women’s softball team also had Augusta State emblems digitally erased.

Ben Madgen, the all-time leading scorer in Augusta State basketball history, wears No. 1 in the photo and now plays professional basketball for the Sydney Kings in his native Australia. After seeing the altered photos Wednesday, he expressed his shock and dismay in an e-mail.

“That is terrible. We won those (three) regional championships for Augusta State University, so to see those photos of great memories be Photoshopped to promote another school is really heart breaking,” said the two-time All-American who helped lead the Jaguars to three Division II Elite Eight appearances. “It looks terrible and takes away from the joy all of the basketball team had winning those championships for ASU. I hope something can be done about this because it isn’t right.”

David Brond, the senior vice president of communications and marketing, sent an e-mail to school faculty and staffers Wednesday night calling the decision to alter the photos an isolated occurrence that does not reflect the views of the university’s leadership, his office or the athletics department on the importance of Jaguar athletic accomplishments or the athletes.

Questioned about the alteration Tuesday, Brond said the view book is a marketing publication targeting potential undergraduate students. He said the changes were done to avoid confusing future students with names of the former institutions that merged in January to create GRU.

“The question was how to alleviate that confusion,” he said.

Instead of explaining the merger with Georgia Health Sciences University and the origin of the new university, it was decided to “eliminate other brands” from the view book and emphasize only the GRU brand, Brond said.

In fact, there is no mention of the merger in the entire publication.

Removing the logos, he said, was simpler than explaining the context of the photos.

“We chose not to do it that way,” he said. “In marketing, it is always said that simple is better. Less is better.”

About 5,000 of the view books were printed at a cost of $10,000, GRU officials said. Distribution began this week, with many being handed out to local high school guidance counselors who attended a two-day admissions workshop on the university’s Summerville campus. Brond said some had already been distributed to Atlanta area schools.

“This was produced by our enrollment management group,” Brond said, but when pressed, he said he would not name the person who made the decision to alter the photos.

Officials said it wasn’t University President Ricardo Azziz. University spokeswoman Christen Carter said Azziz had no involvement in the publication and did not review its content.

Who made the decision about the photos is something of a mystery. Director of Admissions Katherine Sweeney directed inquiries about the view book to her boss, Vice Provost Roman Cirbirka.

University officials said Wednesday that Cibirka was not available for comment.

Augusta State men’s basketball Coach Dip Metress said he had seen the photos, but “we aren’t allowed to comment.” He referred inquiries to athletics spokesman Joey Warren, who also declined to comment.

“David Brond is the only one who will be making any statements about this,” Warren said.

Nick Evans, the chairman of the Save the A campaign, which sought to keep the “Augusta” as part of the new institution’s name, said he was “extremely disappointed” in what appears to be an effort to claim Augusta State’s athletic glory without acknowledging the past.

“That’s tremendously disappointing for those kids who wore those shirts for their school and now it is like it never happened,” he said.

Evans said the publication appears to be part of pattern of moving away from the name “Augusta,” despite a compromise his group and university officials agreed to a few months ago.

“I cannot believe the school’s leadership is taking the marketing in the direction they are taking it after having agreed to prominently include Augusta in everything,” he said.

Brond said the school is using Augusta in some of its marketing materials, but not all. He said this instance wasn’t an attempt to reshape the school’s past.

“This doesn’t change history,” he said earlier, explaining that the school’s sports teams are competing under the Augusta State moniker until the end of the season. He said there are no other photos.

“There are no such things as Georgia Regents uniforms,” he said.

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seenitB4
87178
Points
seenitB4 02/27/13 - 06:34 pm
11
2
This says a lot...

Augusta State men’s basketball Coach Dip Metress said he had seen the photos, but “we aren’t allowed to comment.” He referred inquiries to athletics spokesman Joey Warren, who also declined to comment.

Not allowed to comment.....zip it...zip it...

I wonder if they can erase the Civil War too....& the radio guy is so concerned about Rtree & his policy....funny thing......we can't erase history..

RoadKing
105
Points
RoadKing 02/27/13 - 07:14 pm
5
0
Save the A ....

Who will win ?? The " Save the A's " .... or the " Erase the A's " .

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 02/27/13 - 07:32 pm
15
1
No name Offensive

I have heard of the "No-Name Defense. This is just offensive.
The little man with the giant ego at GRUsome U must have read 1984. It is only 29 years late, but "newspeak" has become "newpic." If history doesn't suit you, rewrite it or photoshop it.

What is wonderfully ironic about this is he calls it "the legacy of GRU" but photoshopped the history out. Newspeak! The school has always been GRU.

I hope Dip doesn't get in trouble for saying that he isn't "allowed to comment." The countries Huxley's book is based on did not care for people who spoke openly in a way that anyone could think of as being critical of the regime.

When all of this began, we heard about how important the fine and liberal arts are to Dr. Azziz's fantasy school. So far it appears there was as much truth to those statements as there is to GRUsome U's "legacy." Why am I not surprised. The man is incapable of telling the truth. and the Board of Regents are fools enough to believe him.

thauch12
6584
Points
thauch12 02/27/13 - 07:40 pm
4
13
Once you step back and get

Once you step back and get past the purely emotional response, this actually makes some sense. Marketing a "new" university using the "old" name is kind of silly. The only other solution I can think of that would be vaguely logical would be to not have any pictures, altered or not, in the publication until the new school's teams are in full action.

Granted, they probably should have asked the players/coaches in the photographs before altering them, but what's done is done and there's no use crying over spilled milk.

Mr. Thackeray
910
Points
Mr. Thackeray 02/27/13 - 07:44 pm
8
11
What did you people

What did you people expect...move on...your Save the A group caved...it is over.

emanon
34
Points
emanon 02/27/13 - 08:05 pm
6
0
If the photographer was from

If the photographer was from the Chronicle, why doesnt GRU have to get permission to use the photographs?

Connor Threlkeld
747
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Connor Threlkeld 02/27/13 - 08:56 pm
4
0
emanon, two of the photos on

emanon, two of the photos on the left side are by Chronicle staff photographer Michael Holahan. The third, of the golf team, is by a photographer with The Oklahoman, which is the newspaper in Oklahoma City, OK., who took the photos of the golf team's national championship win in Stillwater, OK for us. The photos on the right are photos of the same events, taken by photographers employed by what is now Georgia Regents University. That is why the poses and angles are slightly different. They altered their own photos to remove the logos.

TRex
100
Points
TRex 02/27/13 - 09:29 pm
13
1
You are right thackeray

What did we expect!?!? This falls in line with the ridiculous naming of GRU. Too many people are impacted and disgusted for this to go away. It will take years before it is forgotten or embraced. It's a shame to create this unneeded drama. Azziz needs a promotion, to a place far, far away.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 02/27/13 - 09:32 pm
3
1
Are we still at war

... with Oceania, or are they now beloved allies?

wordwright
134
Points
wordwright 02/27/13 - 09:51 pm
7
1
Lawsuit?

Could someone please update me on the lawsuit filed by Regent U. of Virginia. I live out of town, so I missed the news that the BOR could use the term Regent in the title. When was the lawsuit settled?

Young Fred
17448
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 09:55 pm
4
1
"Are we still at war ... with

"Are we still at war ... with Oceania, or are they now beloved allies?"

Tune in tomorrow, and we'll know the answer, at least until the day after tomorrow.

John Locke
345
Points
John Locke 02/27/13 - 10:30 pm
9
1
Amatuer Hour at GRU

Someday this whole GRU-MCG-ASU thing will make a case study for hubris, ego, narcissim and other pschological disorders, to include fantasy issues of erasing history. Kind of like the Soviets did when they airbrushed photos of images that did not fit their fantasy world. The ASU faculty got an email from some public affairs weenie about how nobody knows how this happened. It gets funnier every minute and continues to degrade the entire institution and the city. David Brond is obviously incompetent and GRU needs to fire him and save some money.

AugustaProf
138
Points
AugustaProf 02/27/13 - 10:58 pm
1
0
GRU Augusta?

Actually, Locke, the email was from David Brond himself. It was the first email EVER out of that office that included the word Augusta in the name or brand. And it was repeated often and italicized. Every other communication out of that office leaves Augusta out of the university name and logo--you know, the logo on our business cards, our official college letterheads, and on Aziz's blog that looks kinda like the one we voted for...but not really.

http://azziz.georgiahealth.edu/files/2013/02/gru.png

Personally I prefer just GRU, but I wish we'd just figure out who we are and be that. If you want to get a chuckle, click through the gru.edu web site and count the number if distinct logos. Between ASU, MCG, GHSU, and GRU, there are a good 30 to 40 of them all referring to "us." The old logos I can understand, but embarrassingly, there are at least 5 distinct GRU and GRU Augusta logos among these. Sigh.

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 02/27/13 - 11:04 pm
10
1
Well, if it had been the

Well, if it had been the UNIVERSITY OF AUGUSTA, no photoshopping would have been required!

GiantsAllDay
9589
Points
GiantsAllDay 02/28/13 - 12:44 am
6
0
“And if all others accepted

“And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became the truth.” George Orwell, “1984″

moderate321
321
Points
moderate321 02/28/13 - 02:14 am
4
0
This was Roman Cibirka's

This was Roman Cibirka's call. If you look at the viewbook, it would be hard to determine that GRU is even in Augusta.

Riverman1
83901
Points
Riverman1 02/28/13 - 06:01 am
10
1
Photoshop Azziz

Since we have learned recently that photoshopping photos is not illegal in Georgia, I propose we return the favor and photoshop Azziz in some hilarious situations...yeah, those kind.

Just My Opinion
5629
Points
Just My Opinion 02/28/13 - 06:01 am
8
1
If all this was meant to not

If all this was meant to not confuse the students that were given these photoshopped brochures, does that mean these students aren't intelligent enough to understand the reason there are pictures of athletes/students with the Augusta State logo printed on their jersey? I mean, the publisher could have easily put in a disclaimer that told why there was a difference. People aren't always as stupid as some think they are. Advertisers always seem to believe they know what works.

TRex
100
Points
TRex 02/28/13 - 07:22 am
5
0
Less is better?

In marketing..............less is better? Really? No logo at all is pretty much as "less" as you can get.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 02/28/13 - 07:38 am
0
0
Perhaps Azziz should be
Unpublished

Perhaps Azziz should be photo-shopped out of all photographs to come

curly123053
4671
Points
curly123053 02/28/13 - 08:02 am
6
2
Save The "A" Did Not Win!!

Socialism won out over Save The "A"'s.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 02/28/13 - 08:20 am
18
2
if they faked photos of their best athletes, what's next?

Time Magazine did a great piece, called "The Aesthetics of a Dictatorship," detailing how North Korea's communist-run news agency photoshopped everything from Kim Jong-Il's funeral to substandard missile launches. This local marketing guy seems to thinks changing athletes' images is ok, but once you're caught faking one thing, the community won't trust the school any more than the world trusts North Korea.

Little Lamb
46015
Points
Little Lamb 02/28/13 - 08:48 am
3
0
Legislature

I wonder how Augusta state representative Earnest Smith’s anti-photoshopping bill is doing as it makes its way through the legislative maze? Perhaps ol’ Earnest can tack in an amendment that schools in the state university system cannot use photoshopped images.

Cynical old woman
1102
Points
Cynical old woman 02/28/13 - 09:08 am
3
0
Wiping out

I will be delighted when we can photoshop Azziz out! Out of the picture, out of the job, out of the city, out of the state, out of the country!

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 02/28/13 - 09:09 am
6
1
...what a farce....

....and what community leaders worked out the compromise?
,,,what else can be compromised?
To not explain the history of the school, ie, consolidation, name changing, etc.... proves the adage "that less is a lie and and it will come back to bite you big time!"
Changing the photos was unethical...

razordog
195
Points
razordog 02/28/13 - 09:30 am
4
1
TOTALLY OFFENSIVE

If I were the guys/girls in the pictures, I would really be offended more than anyone. Some of the GRU Modification pictures don't look anything like the ASU Originals. That goes to show you that a "modification" is nothing like the "real thing". ASU is and will continue to be the real thing, and this GRU is just a piece of crap modificaiton for sure. This whole thing is just
Gross
Repulsive and
Unacceptable

jmb578
98
Points
jmb578 02/28/13 - 10:11 am
6
1
Where's the A?

If you look at the cover of the viewbook (pictured in the print edition of The Chronicle), they refer to the school at Georgia Regents University. What happened to Georgia Regents University Augusta? We were told that the school would use GRUA in all of it's marketing. Doesn't look like that's happening! So much for the "Save the A" committee!

karradur
2854
Points
karradur 02/28/13 - 10:55 am
3
7
"Time Magazine did a great

"Time Magazine did a great piece, called "The Aesthetics of a Dictatorship," detailing how North Korea's communist-run news agency photoshopped everything from Kim Jong-Il's funeral to substandard missile launches. This local marketing guy seems to thinks changing athletes' images is ok, but once you're caught faking one thing, the community won't trust the school any more than the world trusts North Korea."

You're being hyperbolic and frankly rather offensive. I completely understand the point you and others are trying to make, and I think it's a good example of how this whole rebranding has been handled poorly.

But to compare a weird marketing decision made by a first-world educational institution to the suffering and extermination of millions of innocent people by a tyrannical government hellbent on nuclear holocaust is really very ill-conceived.

We should be thankful and humble that the worst of our problems is trying to figure out what we should call a university.

OJP
6634
Points
OJP 02/28/13 - 10:57 am
2
9
Mole hill

Are we still talking about this? The merger is occurring and it will greatly benefit both schools and the area.

Big picture, folks.

KSL
129462
Points
KSL 02/28/13 - 11:54 am
4
1
Honor

Doesn't the alteration of photos smack of cheating? It is deceitful. Schools are supposed to be teaching honor, as in honor codes that many subscribe to. I would think twice about allowing a child of mine to attend a school that cheats to entice him or her to attend.

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